• Trinidad & Tobago
  • Trinidad & Tobago

    Election 2020

August 10,2020
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Tuesday 4 August, 2020

Election 2020: Dos and Don'ts on Election Day

Election Day is less than a month away.

Thousands of electors, including first time voters, are expected to cast their votes on August 10.

What do you need to know about polling station etiquette?

Can you take a selfie during the process?

Are employees allowed time off to vote on Election Day?

Can bars sell alcohol?

Here's all you need to know about Election Day activities.

Polling commences at 6 am and closes at 6 pm.

However, all persons standing in the line at 6 pm are allowed to vote before the poll is declared closed.

No person is permitted to join the line after 6 pm.

On Election Day, you are required to switch off your cellphone when you are in the polling station.

When you are about to enter the voting booth, you will be asked to place your cellphone and/or camera in a container located outside the voting booth.

Having marked your ballot, you can retrieve your cellphone and/or camera on the way out.


Dos

According to the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC), voters should do the following:

1. On Election Day, you should check the list of electors posted outside the polling station for your name and number. Where there are several polling stations on the same compound, an information officer will direct you to your correct polling station.

2. If your name is on the list of electors and you have a valid ID card, you should join the green line. All other persons including physically incapacitated, blind or visually impaired persons should join the red line.

3. You are required to sign your poll card in front of the poll clerk. The deputy presiding officer then examines your fingers and if there is no evidence of electoral ink stains, issues a ballot paper after observation.

4. It should be marked and folded with the use of guidance ballot.

5. The ballot should be folded to display the initials of the deputy presiding officer and polling station number.

6. A blind or incapacitated elector is allowed to vote with the assistance of a companion. In the privacy of the voting booth, you vote by placing an X to the right of your candidate's symbol. If you make a mark other than X the ballot will be rejected.

7. Fold your ballot paper as directed by the deputy presiding officer in charge of the ballot box. Display your folded ballot paper with initials of the deputy presiding officer and the polling station number at the back, visibility.

8. You will then be required to dip your figure in the electoral ink. If you refuse to immerse your finger in the ink, you will not be allowed to place your ballot in the ballot box.

9. Once you have dipped your finger in the electoral ink, you are then allowed to place your ballot in the ballot box.

Don'ts

Offences on polling day

The following are prohibited on Election Day, as stipulated by the Representation of the People Act:

Prohibition of employment of bands of music

88. (1) No person shall hire or make use of any band of music on polling day within an electoral district for which an election is being held until two hours after the closing of the poll.

(2) No person shall play in any band of music at any meeting or in any procession held on polling day within an electoral district for which an election is being held until two hours after the closing of the poll.

(3) Any person who contravenes this section is liable on summary conviction to a fine of seven thousand, five hundred dollars or to imprisonment for six months.

No Loudspeakers, banners, favours, badges

89. (1) No person shall furnish or supply any public address apparatus, loudspeaker, bunting, ensign, banner, standard or set of colours or any flag to any person with intent that it should be worn or used on polling day within an electoral district for which an election is being held on any motor or other vehicle as political propaganda on polling day, and no person shall on polling day carry, wear or use within such electoral district any public address apparatus, loudspeaker,
bunting, ensign, banner, standard or set of colours or flag, on any motor or other vehicle or otherwise as political propaganda.

(2) No person shall furnish or supply any flag, ribbon, label, symbol or like favour or any article of clothing to or for any person with intent that it be worn or used by any person within an electoral district on polling day as a badge to distinguish the wearer as the supporter of any candidate or of the political or other opinions entertained or supposed to be entertained by such candidate; and no person shall use or wear any flag, ribbon, label, symbol or like favour or any article of clothing as such badge within an electoral district on polling day.

(3) Nothing contained in subsection (1) shall be deemed to extend to the furnishing, supplying, carrying, wearing or using of any banner bearing only the name of any candidate or party or only such name preceded by the words “Vote for”.

(4) Any person who contravenes this section is liable on summary conviction to a fine of seven thousand, five hundred dollars or to imprisonment for six months.

Do not congregate near polling stations

90. (1) Subject to subsection (2), during the hours when the poll is open on polling day no persons shall assemble or congregate in a polling station or within one hundred yards thereof

(2) This section does not apply to:

(a) any electors who are waiting to vote at such polling station and who obey such instructions as may be given by the Presiding Officer or any Police Officer for the purpose of forming a queue with other electors so waiting; or

(b) any person who under this Act lawfully enters and remains in such station.

(3) Any person who contravenes this section is liable on summary conviction to a fine of seven thousand, five hundred dollars or to imprisonment for three months.

Influencing electors to vote for any candidate

91 (1) During the hours that the poll is open upon polling day no person shall, in any polling station or upon any road or in any public place within one hundred yards of any polling station, seek to influence any elector to vote or to refrain from voting for any candidate or political party or to ascertain for whom any elector intends to vote or has voted.

(2) Any person who contravenes this section is liable on summary conviction to a fine of seven thousand, five hundred dollars or to imprisonment for three months.

Do not sell alcohol

92. (1) No intoxicating liquor shall be sold, offered or exposed for sale, or given away at any premises licensed under the Liquor Licences Act and situated in any electoral district for which an election is being held at any time between the opening and the closing of the poll on polling day.

(2) No intoxicating liquor shall be supplied to any person on the premises of any club registered under the Registration of Clubs Act, and situated in any electoral district for which an election is being held at any time between the opening and the closing of the poll on polling day.

(3) Any person who contravenes subsection (1) or (2) is liable on summary conviction to a fine of fifteen thousand dollars or to imprisonment for six months.

(4) No person shall on polling day consume any intoxicating liquor within a polling station.

(5) No Presiding Officer, Deputy Presiding Officer or Poll Clerk shall consume any intoxicating liquor on polling day within any polling station.

(6) Any person who contravenes subsection (4) or (5) is liable on summary conviction to a fine of four thousand dollars or to imprisonment for three months

Interference with employeestime off for voting

93. An employer who fails to comply with any of the provisions of section 36(2) and any person who directly or indirectly by intimidation, undue influence, or in any other way interferes with the granting to an elector of the prescribed period for voting referred to in that subsection is liable on summary conviction to a fine of thirty thousand dollars or to imprisonment for twelve months.

Illegal voting

94. (1) A person is guilty of an offence who votes at an election:

(a) knowing that he is not entitled to vote at the election;

(b) as an elector more than once in the same electoral district or in more than one electoral district; or

(c) for which he is entitled to vote as a special elector, otherwise than in accordance with Part IV of the Election Rules.

(2) A person is guilty of an offence who induces or procures some other person to do an act if he knows that such act is, or but for that other person’s want of knowledge would be, an offence by that other person under subsection (1).

(3) An offence under this section is an illegal practice.

(4) A candidate is not liable, nor is his election avoided, for an illegal practice under this section by any agent of his other than for an offence under subsection (2).

Bribery

(1) A person is guilty of a corrupt practice who is guilty of bribery.

(2) A person is guilty of bribery who, directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf:

(a) gives any money or procures any office to or for any elector or to or for any other person on behalf of any elector or to or for any other person in order to induce any elector to vote or refrain from voting;

(b) corruptly does any act as in paragraph (a) on account of any elector having voted or refrained from voting; or

(c) makes any gift or procurement as in paragraph (a) to or for any person in order to induce that person to procure, or endeavour to procure, the return of any person at an election or the vote of any elector, or if upon or in consequence of any such gift or procurement he procures or engages, promises or endeavours to procure the return of any person at an election or the vote of any elector.

(3) A person is guilty of bribery who:

(a) advances or pays or causes to be advanced or paid any money to or to the use of any other person with the intent that the money or any part thereof will be expended in bribery at any election; or

(b) knowingly pays or causes to be paid any money to any person in discharge or repayment of any money wholly or in part expended in bribery at any election.

(4) Subsections (1) to (3) do not extend and shall not be construed to extend to any money paid or agreed to be paid for or on account of any legal expenses incurred in good faith at or concerning an election.

(5) An elector is guilty of bribery who, before or during an election, directly or indirectly by himself or by any other person on his behalf, receives, agrees to receive, or contracts for any money, gift, loan or valuable consideration, office, place or
employment for himself or for any other person for voting or agreeing to vote or for refraining or agreeing to refrain from voting.

(6) A person is guilty of bribery who, after an election directly or indirectly by himself or by any other person on his behalf, receives any money or valuable consideration on account of any person having voted or refrained from voting or having induced any other person to vote or refrain from voting.

(7) In this section, “elector” includes any person who has or claims to have a right to vote or is believed by the person offering the bribe to have a right to vote.

(8) For the purposes of this section—

(a) references to giving money includes references to lending, agreeing to give or lend, offering, promising or promising to procure or to endeavour to procure any money or valuable consideration; and

(b) references to procuring any office includes references to giving, procuring, agreeing to give or procure, offering, promising or promising to procure or to endeavour to procure any office, place or employment.

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